Expo Franz Marijnen in KVS

Thu 06.04.2023 - Fri 12.05.2023

From 6 April to 12 May 2023, you can take a walk through theatre history at KVS. More specifically, the bit of history that Franz Marijnen, former KVS director and prolific theatre creator, gifted us with. We are delighted to bring this homage to Franz, who passed away last year, through a collection of photos from his time at KVS.

Franz Marijnen was not only the intendant (general director) of KVS from 1993 to 2000, he was also one of the Lowlands’ greatest theatre creators. He introduced the works of Polish theatre reformer Jerzy Grotowski in the Netherlands and Belgium. And he created countless large-scale, successful theatre productions in Belgium and abroad, from Poland to New York.
Franz became leader of KVS in 1993 and brought about various important changes. Among the most impactful was his years-long advocacy for a thorough renovation of the theatre. His plea was successful: renovation works started in 1999 and the entirety of KVS – ensemble, staff, podiums and even props – temporarily moved to the bottle factory in Molenbeek. Under Franz’ leadership, the façades and foyer of the theatre made it onto the list of protected monuments.
He also increased the number of productions, created a wide offering of guest productions, and was the first to open the doors of the theatre to a huge range of disciplines and audiences. Notably, he offered artistic residence to Wim Vandekeybus and his dance company Ultima Vez, and shifted the focus to international productions through initiatives like Eurotheater, Arabic theatre and music festivals, literary events, … He himself also staged a number of remarkable plays from the classical and modern world repertoire, including Koning Lear (King Lear), Oresteia, De Storm (The Tempest), King Kongs Dochters (King Kong’s Daughters), Eindspel (Endgame), Oedipus and In Kolonos.
His contemporaries mainly remember him for his exuberant, grand sets and the large ensemble of famous and lesser-known actors he gathered for his creations. Freek de Jonghe, Wim van der Grijn, La fura dels baus, Bien De Moor, Sien Eggers, Chris Thys, Senne Roufaer, Sofie Decleir, Bert André and his daughter Sandrine, … These are just a few of the faces you will be sure to recognise in the exhibition. The photos are almost exclusively by Leo Van Velzen, house photographer for KVS at the time.

Immerse yourself in the life and work of a very special man and theatre creator from his time in KVS with a visit to the expo between 6 April and 12 May, at KVS Café. On Thursday 6 April you are warmly invited to a celebratory vernissage between 5pm and 8pm.
Expo opening hours:

Mon - Fri: 11am – 5pm